I am 39 years of age, 61 years less of 100 years of age to be called a centenarian. With this perspective, I would rather describe myself as a 39-year-old KID. This is a reflection of my desire to remain young, to stay young, something almost most of us has in common.
Unfortunately, nobody lives forever, and irrespective of what we do, we really cannot stop aging. I cannot go back a year or a couple of them to become 38,37 or 35. Like all humans, I will only grow older, moving towards a life expectancy.
Herein lies the bone of contention. If I cannot grow younger, can I at least live longer? This is a question that has been the source of thousands of books, much research, science fiction movies, most religion, legends, and myths.
In this article, we will be looking at a few ways in which anyone can at least add a couple more years to their life expectancy through the power of habits. However, I must state beforehand that nothing is definite. The best any of us can do is try our best.
So, What Is Our Life Expectancy?
According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), life expectancy is the average number of years people of a particular age can expect to live based on the mortality rate unique to their geographic location.
This means how long you will live is dependent largely on your geographic location. And this is understandable. A perfectly healthy young man of 25 years can get shot in a geographic location characterized by violence. An old man of 80 years can live to a hundred in a small peaceful village. This is just one instance.
Based on data gotten from the world bank, the life expectancy in 2020, at birth in India is 70 years. It is 77, 81, & 85 in the USA, UK, and Japan. So, the people of Japan live mostly longer than Indians, Americans, or Britons. Also, Japan is the country where most of the centenarians live. A whopping 0.06% of the total population of Japan has people who have crossed 100 years of age.
From the above, you see a pattern of many differences in the life expectancy of people in different regions. Therefore it is fair to say that where you live perhaps is the first indication of how long you will live.
How Long Can You Possibly Live?
How long can someone possibly live today? This is a valid question to help meter our expectations. To answer this, we shall be analyzing a couple of people who have lived longer on earth, beyond the average life expectancy of their specific region.
Jeanne Calment, a french female had lived for 122 years and 164 days. And it is the longest life span of a human. Calment died in 1997. And currently, the oldest living person is a female, named Kane Tanaka who is over 119 years old. Men lag behind women here also. The longest-lived man is Jiroemon Kimura who lived on the planet for 116 years and 54 days.
These are 3 different cases of the oldest living people on earth. 2 are from Japan(has the highest life expectancy of all the countries on earth) and the oldest ever recorded, Jeanne Calmet is from France (also, has a very high life expectancy of 82 years). Once again, we see location coming to play in how long someone can live.
Another noticeable thing among the longest people living is that most are women. This is an interesting pattern across the country. Irrespective, it is safe to say that if we can figure out what it is that made these interesting people live so long, we might be able to live for as long as over a hundred years.
What Makes People Live Longer?
The argument on what makes someone live longer, especially in the cases of the longest-living people is very subjective. Some attribute it to neoteny, specific to the Japanese people which explains that the Japanese live long because they are programmed to age slowly.
In the same breath, lifestyle, diet, and a host of other things have been attributed to be the reason behind some people living longer. Where habits like drinking and smoking are tied to early mortality, it isn’t always the case. There are cases of people who shun these habits yet, end up being diagnosed with cancer.
Irrespective, the fact remains, we all can increase our chances of our living longer by doing certain things. It is not a guarantee, however, doing them gives us at least a fighting chance more than others who indulge in an unhealthy lifestyle.
How To Live Longer
We all want to live happy and fit but not all of us are so lucky to attain that Goal. And many times the reason is we don't care about ourselves. We know what is good and what is not good for our health. But, we rarely want to compromise.
If something feels good, say a certain food item, but comes with side effects, we go on eating without a care in the world. A healthy habit, like exercising, after a few days or weeks, we soon drop it for lack of perseverance. This is a common issue. So, what can be done? The answer is in practicing a technique called the “Inversion Technique”
The Inversion Technique is a way of achieving results by analyzing how to fail at a goal and then doing the exact opposite of the things you need to do to fail. Charles Munger, the American billionaire investor is credited for making a statement to the effect that all he wants to know is where he would die, and then in other to achieve long life, he wouldn't go there. This is a practical illustration of the inversion technique.
The reason why inversion techniques work so well is that as humans, we live with the hope of a bright future. However, it is easier to want a beautiful future than it is to actually admit that it is the little things we do every day that leads to it.
However, once we replace that bright future with a very gloomy one, the fear of the fact that the future isn’t bright will drive us to start acting the right way.
Applying the inversion technique, we shall be looking at 3 things that can surely lead us to an early grave,
1. Poor Eating Habit
You don't need any detailed analysis to come to know that you're not eating healthily. You miss breakfasts, your diet has too much oil, and little or no fruits and vegetables. You eat more at the fast-food store and less at home. Note that you are doing a very good job of dying faster than your life expectancy.
A study published in PLOS Medicine that a switch in the western diet from the age of 20 years can add at least 10 years to the life expectancies of both males and females. The direct connection between living long and food cannot be rubbished.
As stated earlier, one of the reasons Japan has an extremely high life expectancy is its diet. Their diet consists more of fish and plant food. Also, obesity in Japan is very low compared to other countries like the US and the UK according to a report by the National Center Of Biotechnology Information.
2. Stress From Job
We have to make a living for ourselves. And I don't think that there is any job without stress. But, you can minimize it with your productive habits. However, the major causes of stress in our jobs seem to be just the thing we indulge in, where we can focus on just being productive and pleasing the boss.
According to a report by HSE, the 6 causes of stress in the workplace are demands, control, support, relationships, role, and change. All of these can be well managed to reduce stress. The amazing best-seller book “Don't sweat the small things at work” by Richard Carlson, gives a comprehensive approach to how to manage stress at work.
One aspect that you as an employee have full control over is the decision not to be involved in unnecessary gossip. Gossip can be addictive as it gives us an immediate bump of joy. There is always something to talk about. It is easy to criticize and make fun of others. These are all negative habits with immediate pleasure but create a stressful working environment.
We often take sleep for granted. However, it is important. Poor sleeping habits have been linked to some medical conditions. In fact, there is a direct link between your sleeping pattern and your life expectancy. A report published on the Harvard website states that sleeping can increase life expectancy by fifteen percent.
How many hours are considered good hours of sleep? 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 hours. There is no definite answer to that. However, research has come out to give 7 hours as a safe minimum, including the Sleeping Foundation. The most important thing is, to make sure you catch a good sleep.
Also if you want to know what are the best sleep hours for you; just experience it. If you can feel relaxed and energized even after six hours of sleep, you have got your sleep hours.
So far we have established that you can live long. Although so many things can go wrong that can ultimately cut down a person’s life but if we give ourselves to healthy habits, the chances of us living till we are above one hundred is very possible. What's your thoughts? Do you have any story to share?